Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Associate dean expands research initiatives in the FSU College of Nursing

Hyochol “Brian” Ahn, professor and associate dean for research in the Florida State University College of Nursing.
Hyochol “Brian” Ahn, professor and associate dean for research in the Florida State University College of Nursing.

It’s been a busy nine months for Hyochol “Brian” Ahn, professor and associate dean for research in the Florida State University College of Nursing.

Most recently, Ahn launched the Brain Science and Symptom Management Center, an institute for interdisciplinary research that will use brain simulation and computer technology to optimize pain and symptoms management.

As a Korean American, Ahn serves as a national Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leader in health research. He’s active in professional organizations that advocate for diversity in the nursing profession, including the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) and Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA).

He is also the new editor-in-chief of the Asian Pacific Island Nursing Journal, the official journal of the AAPINA.

“The College of Nursing is excited to have Dr. Ahn’s expertise and leadership to grow diversity and research enterprise,” said Jing Wang, dean of FSU’s College of Nursing and president of AAPINA. “We are so proud to have a national AAPI leader in-house with such a high caliber of research excellence.”

Wang added: “Dr. Ahn’s achievement at the national level as a leading nurse scientist funded by the National Institutes of Health will benefit both faculty and students, stimulating exciting interdisciplinary collaborations at FSU. More students will be able to learn from renowned scientists to generate new knowledge in nursing and health care.”

Since his arrival in August 2021, the College of Nursing has seen strong growth in its research operations, including more success of current faculty research, the hire of new faculty with NIH-funded research portfolios, and a $14.5 million collaborative grant with the College of Medicine and the Department of Psychology to foster faculty diversity in health research.

Ahn has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work enhancing the health and independence of vulnerable populations. With the use of innovative technologies to optimize pain and symptom management, Ahn aspires to change the culture of nursing research.

As a subject-matter expert, Ahn contributed to a report with the American Nurses Association’s National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing and helped examine all forms of societal racism and motivate nurses to condemn individual and systemic racism.

In his role as the College of Nursing’s associate dean for research, Ahn oversees all research operations for the college, tackling everything from faculty mentorship to grant management. His main priorities include increasing research excellence and building a supportive community for research growth in nursing and health care.

“I welcome this challenge,” Ahn said. “I want our college to serve as the model for a place of research excellence and innovation. Our profession is one that is looking to expand, and research is the mechanism that will enable us to accomplish that.”

Ahn has been selected for academic leadership programs by organizations such as the Society of Behavioral Medicine Leadership Institute and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)-Wharton Executive Leadership Institute, where he sharpened his leadership skills to address change management, develop value innovation, build strategic relationships, and influence and galvanize a diverse set of stakeholders.

He sees diversity as an important component in developing a transformative organization and says he’s excited about the commitments the university has made to diversity.

“FSU is doing great things to show that all people, from all walks of life, can study, research and call FSU home,” he said.

For more information about AAPI Heritage Month, visit

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. May marks the observance as it commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843 and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, the majority of which was completed by Chinese immigrants.

The first national celebration of Asian/ Pacific American Heritage was in 1978 when Congress established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to coincide with the previously mentioned dates. In 1992, Congress changed the weeklong observance to a monthlong celebration. This Heritage Month celebrates the unique journey of all Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants and citizens in the United States and their unique life experiences, traditions and cultures.